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396

THE CONTENTS OF THE STOVE.

though to what place they were sent, or what is become of them, we are wholly ignorant. It is equally certain that the surmises and unfavorable opinions formed respecting this mysterious business, which must necessarily have reached him, precipitated, if they did not produce, the disorder of which our late pastor died: but he is gone to his account, and we are bound to think charitably of the departed.'

“It is unnecessary to say with what emotion I listened to this relation, which recalled to my imagination, and seemed to give proof of the existence of, all that I had seen. Yet, unwilling to suffer my mind to become enslaved by phantoms which might have been the effect of error or deception, I neither communicated to the sexton the circumstances which I had witnessed, nor even permitted myself to quit the chamber where it had taken place. I continued to lodge there, without ever witnessing any similar appearance; and the recollection itself began to wear away as the autumn advanced.

“When the approach of winter made it necessary to light fires throughout the house, I ordered the iron stove which stood in the room, and behind which the figure which I had beheld, together with the two boys, seemed to disappear, to be heated, for the purpose of warming the apartment. Some difficulty was perienced in making the attempt, the stove not only smoking intolerably, but emitting an offensive smell. Having, therefore, sent for a blacksmith to inspect and repair it, he discovered, in the inside, at the farthest extremity, the bones of two small human bodies, corresponding in size with the description given me by the sexton of the two boys who had been seen at the parsonage.

“This last circumstance completed my astonishment, and appeared to confer a sort of reality on an appear. ance which might otherwise have been considered

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as a delusion of the senses. I resigned the living, quitted the place, and retired to Königsberg; but it has produced on my mind the deepest impression, and has, in its effect, given rise to that uncertainty and contradiction of sentiment which you remarked in my late discourse."*

Wraxall adds, “Such was Count Felkesheim's story, which, from its singularity, appeared to me deserving of commemoration, in whatever contempt we may hold similar anecdotes."

If this narrative, and the intimations it conveys, may be trusted to, what a glimpse do these display of a species of future punishment speedy and inevitable:-inevitable so long as wickedness inheres in wicked deeds, unless conscience dies with the body. But conscience is an attribute of the immortal spirit, not of the perishable frame. And if, in very truth, from the world beyond it drags down the evil-doer to the earthly scene of his misdeeds, how false is our phrase, when, in speaking of a murderer who has eluded justice, we say he has escaped punishment! His deed dies not. Even if no vengeful arm of an offended Deity requite the wrong, the wrong may requite itself. Even in the case of some hardened criminal, when the soul, dulled to dogged carelessness during its connection with an obtuse and degraded physical organization, remains impervious, while life lasts, to the stings of conscience, death, removing the hard shell, may expose to sensitiveness and to suffering the disengaged spirit.

There are intimations, however, somewhat similar in general character to the above, which seem to teach us that even in the next world repentance, by its regene

*Llistorical Memoirs of my Oron Time," by Sir N. William Wraxall, Bart.; London, 1815, pp. 218 to 226.

398

APPARITION WHICH APPEARED

rating influence, may gradually change the character and the condition of the criminal; and I shall not be deterred from bringing forward an example, in illustration, by the fear of being charged with Roman Catholic leanings. Eclecticism is true philosophy.

The example to which I refer is one adduced and vouched for by Dr. Kerner, and to which, in part, he could testify from personal observation. It is the history of the same apparition, already briefly alluded to,* as one,

the
appearance

of which to Madame Hauffe was uniformly heralded by knockings, or rappings, audible to all. I entitle it

a

THE CHILD'S BONES FOUND. The apparition first presented itself to Madame Hauffe during the winter of 1824–25, one morning at nine o'clock, while she was at her devotions. It was that of a swarthy man, of small stature, his head somewhat drooping, his countenance wrinkled as with age, clad in a dark monk's frock. He looked hard at her, in silence. She experienced a shuddering sensation as she returned his

gaze, and hastily left the room. The next day, and almost daily during an entire year, the figure returned, usually appearing at seven o'clock in the evening, which was Madame Hauffe's wonted hour of prayer. On his second appearance he spoke to her, saying he had come to her for comfort and instruction. “Treat me as a child,” he said, “and teach me religion.” With especial entreaty, he begged of her that she would pray with him. Subsequently he confessed to her that he had the burden of a murder and of other grievous sins on his soul; that he had wandered

* See Book III. chap. 2, The Seeress of Prevorst." The circumytances, as already stated, occurred near Löwenstein, in the kingdom of Wurtem. berg. Dr. Kerner and the seeress and her family were Protestants.

TO THE SEERESS OF PREVORST.

399

restlessly for long years, and had never yet been able to address himself to prayer.

She complied with his request; and from time to time throughout the long period that he continued to appear to her she instructed him in religious matters, and he joined with her in her devotions.

One evening, at the usual hour, there appeared with him the figure of a woman, tall and meager, bearing in her arms a child that seemed to have just died. She kneeled down with him, and prayed also. This female figure had once before appeared to the seeress; and her coming was usually preceded by sounds similar to those obtained from a steel triangle.

Sometimes she saw the man's figure during her walks abroad. It seemed to glide before her. On one occasion she had been on a visit to Gronau with her parents and her brothers and sisters; and ere she reached home the clock struck seven. Of a sudden she began to run; and when they hastened after her to inquire the cause, she exclaimed, “The spirit is gliding before and entreating my prayers.” As they passed hastily along, the family distinctly heard a clapping, as of hands, seeming to come from the air before them; sometimes it was a knocking as on the walls of the houses which they happened to pass. When they reached home, a clapping of hands sounded before them as they ascended the stairs. The seeress hastened to her chamber; and there, as if on bended knees, the spirit prayed with her as usual.

The longer she conversed with him, and the oftener he came for prayer, the lighter and more cheerful and friendly did his countenance become. When their devotions were over, he was wont to say, "Now the sun rises !” or, “Now I feel the sun shining within me!"

One day she asked him whether he could hear other persons speak as well as herself. “I can hear them

400

THE BLACK TERRIER.

through you,” was his reply. “How so ?” she inquired. And he answered, “Because when you hear others speak you think of what you hear; and I can read your thoughts."

It was observed that, as often as this spirit appeared, a black terrier that was kept in the house seemed to be sensible of its presence; for no sooner was the figure perceptible to the seeress than the dog ran, as if for protection, to some one present, often howling loudly; and after his first sight of it he would never remain alone of nights.

One night this apparition presented itself to Madame Hauffe and said, “I shall not come to you for a week; for your guardian spirit is occupied elsewhere. Something important is about to happen in your family: you will hear of it next Wednesday.”

This was repeated by Madame Hauffe to her family the next morning. Wednesday came, and with it a letter informing them that the seeress's grandfather, of whose illness they had not even been previously informed, was dead. The apparition did not show itself again till the end of the week.

The “guardian spirit” spoken of by the apparition frequently appeared to the seeress, in the form of her grandmother, the deceased wife of him who had just died, and alleged that it was her grandmother's spirit, and that it constantly watched over her. When the spirit of the self-confessed murderer reappeared, after the intermission of a week, she asked him why her guardian spirit had deserted her in these last days. To which he replied, “Because she was occupied by the dying-bed of the recently deceased.” He added, “I have advanced so far that I saw the spirit of your

relative soon after his death enter a beautiful valley. I sball soon be allowed to enter it myself.”

Madame Hauffe's mother never saw the apparition,

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